News & Features

Never Too Late Or Early To Get A Healthy Jumpstart On Career or Education

by Anne Shaw Heinrich for the Healthy Planet

September, 2006


Being one of the youngest students in his class doesn't bother Joseph Cihon, a young man who seems wise beyond his 23 years.

"I don't think it's ever too late to go back to school," he says. "We're always learning anyway, whether we're in school or not. Getting more education is a way to better yourself and your life."

Cihon recognizes how perfect the timing is for him to be back in school. He's single and doesn't yet have the responsibility of children, like many of his classmates, but he works full-time, so Fontbonne OPTIONS Gateway is perfect for him.

For students who want to get started toward a bachelor's degree, but have little or no college credit, Gateway is perfect. The program provides a liberal arts foundation for a degree and serves as a stepping stone into any of the OPTIONS bachelor degree programs. The accelerated format of Gateway can be completed in about 19 months, taking two courses at a time that meet on the same two nights each week.

"I am extremely happy that I started now," says Cihon, who lives in Belleville, Illinois, and attends the South County campus.

He just wrapped up his fourth Gateway course, but already he's planning ahead for his next educational steps. Cihon has the decided advantage of working in the field that inspired him to get his degree in the first place. A therapist for the St. Louis Special School District, he works with autistic children.

"I fell in love with this job and the kids," he says.

Eventually, he hopes to have a degree in special education, as well as a master's in psychology. Cihon says the coursework is challenging, but the secret is to set aside time for study each day. With that kind of planning, he still has time to pursue another passion: hip hop and break dancing. He even teaches a class on Sunday nights.

Most OPTIONS courses are five to eight weeks in length. All degree programs have been sequenced to be completed in two years or less. OPTIONS classes meet on the same evening each week.

OPTIONS undergraduate and graduate degree programs are accelerated and begin throughout the year at several convenient locations: Clayton, South County, North County, Chesterfield and downtown St. Louis.

Fontbonne University has been a provider of high-quality educational programs for more than 80 years. For more information about your OPTIONS, call 314-863-2220 or visit the website at

with permission, copyright (2006) Healthy Planet